Celtics second-year center Vitor Faverani has had a rough time of it over the past eight months, to say the least.
It all started back in January when, after a somewhat promising start to his rookie campaign, Faverani developed some pain in his left knee. That ailment led to a season-ending knee surgery a month later to repair a torn lateral meniscus.
Weeks of recovery and rehab ensued over the summer months, during which a Spanish report surfaced that the 26-year-old was arrested for drunk driving. Faverani vehemently denied this during Celtics media day last month, stating that the report stemmed from Spanish media trying to bring him down.
Between the health issues and false accusation, the center hoped to turn the page on an ugly six months upon returning to the US this fall.
Unfortunately, Faverani’s fresh start in the states did not last long, as the big man experienced swelling in the same left knee that had given him trouble last season. After undergoing additional MRI’s in the past week, the team announced on Monday that Faverani has undergone surgery yet again and will miss the next 6-8 weeks.
Faverani’s injury, combined with a crowded training camp roster for Boston, has led to some whispers that the Brazilian center could be a roster casualty before the regular season begins. The Celtics have 16 players signed to guaranteed contracts in 2014-15, so one of said players has to go before opening night on October 30th.
While the speculation is understandable given Faverani’s recent history, the truth is, when you look at the Celtics current situation, there is no way the young center should be waived outright before the start of the season. Let’s take a closer look at the variety of factors in play here that strengthen Faverani’s case to be kept in green.
1. Faverani is signed to a cheap long-term contract. This is a simple concept. Centers in the NBA are usually pretty expensive; Faverani is the exact opposite. In the summer of 2013, the Celtics signed the 6-foot-11 center to a cheap contract worth $9 million over four seasons. Faverani is earning a meager $2.09 million salary in 2014-15, and the final two years of his contract are fully non-guaranteed. That non-guaranteed aspect of his contract makes him a potential trade chip down the road for the Celtics, much like Keith Bogans was.
On a roster chock-full of more expensive veterans, Faverani has the kind of deal that won’t limit the team in both the short and long term. That fact in itself is almost worth keeping the guy around, if just to see if he can regain some trade value when he becomes healthy again later in the season.
2. The Celtics already lack depth at center. On a team where Joel Anthony and Tyler Zeller are the only true centers on the roster outside of Faverani, it’s hard to justify cutting the big man. Faverani’s youth and glimpses of promise during the early stages of last year give the Celtics ample reasons to want to see what he can do.
The fact that this team is rebuilding works to the team’s favor in handling Faverani, as they can afford to be patient with him. Anthony isn’t a part of this team’s long-term plans, so the depth chart at center is pretty bare bones at this point. No sense in reducing it even more when Faverani is expected to return to action in December.
3. Other moves can be made to solve the roster problem. This is probably the biggest reason the Celtics won’t dump Faverani. Just because the team has 16 guaranteed contracts on the roster right now doesn’t mean someone has to be cut.
Let’s remember who we are dealing with here: the one and only Trader Danny! With the incredible amount of depth Boston has at the power forward and guard positions, the Celtics would be well served trading away a veteran from one of those spots by the end of the month, rather than a young center like Faverani.
It’s easy to understand why Celtics fans may be frustrated with Faverani’s tenure with the team so far. However, when you take these factors into account, it’s premature to give up on Faverani so soon into his brief NBA career. He may not amount to much in the long run, but it’s worth it for the Celtics to wait a little longer to see what he can develop into.